PM Modi and Chinese President Xi to meet virtually at BRICS summit today

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New Delhi: A week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the SCO Summit, the two leaders will again come together virtually at the BRICS Summit to be held on Tuesday amid bilateral proposals to reduce tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

The summit assumes importance for India, especially as the country has been urging multilateral fora to adopt stringent counterterrorism measures globally to help it counter the menace.

At the SCO Summit, PM Modi had said in Xi’s presence that all member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation should respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The remarks came in the backdrop of the tensions along the LAC. Russia, which holds the presidency of both BRICS and SCO for 2020, hopes that these platforms, even while being held virtually, would help reduce tensions between India and China.

The BRICS counterterrorism strategy will enable common measures and close coordination at the United Nations and other international fora against the menace, said senior officials.

Tuesday’s summit will also focus on controlling the Covid-19 pandemic and boosting economic recoveries. BRICS Economic Partnership 2020-2025 is expected to be announced at the Summit, said people aware of the matter.

Proposals include the creation of an early warning system for epidemiological threats and the development of regulations on medical products in order to improve BRICS’ ability to cope with Covid-19. Agreements to facilitate trade, investments and participation of small and medium enterprises in international trade are also expected to be signed in support of the speedy recovery of the BRICS economies, said the people.

The BRICS Economic Partnership will help the five countries step into the new industrial revolution and promote shared interests in sustainable trade and investment without barriers and sanctions, said the people. It will also help advance the digital economy; develop science, technology and innovation; and promote sustainable growth and balanced development in the context of climate, energy, human capital development and food security. The strategy could pave the way for a new BRICS cooperation agenda, according to those in the know.

BRICS leaders are also expected to add momentum to the process to set up the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre. At the BRICS Summit in Goa in October 2016, the leaders of the five nations had stressed on “cooperation in promoting research and development of medicines and diagnostic tools to end epidemics and to facilitate access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines”.

The BRICS Summit at Xiamen in September 2017 saw Modi and the leaders of the four other nations agreeing that the bloc would step up its role in global health governance. The proposal of setting up a BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre was mooted and endorsed in the bloc’s 10th summit in Johannesburg in South Africa in July 2018. However, it did not see much progress on the ground over the past couple of years.

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